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NWSL expansion news: Abby Dahlkemper becomes San Diego Wave FC’s first player

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San Diego Wave Fútbol Club has their first official player as the franchise welcomes 28-year-old defender Abby Dahlkemper to the newest expansion side. The club announced that they acquired the rights to Dahlkemper following the conclusion of the 2021 NWSL season from Houston Dash via a three-way trade that included North Carolina Courage.

Raised in California where she played collegiately for UCLA, Dahlkemper was a member of the 2019 World Cup-winning United States women’s national team. More recently, in her club career, she was acquired by the Dash midseason after a brief stint in England with Manchester City. The limited details of the temporary midseason trade between Houston and North Carolina implied that North Carolina might maintain the rights to future considerations, and with Dahlkemper’s arrival in San Diego — the North Carolina Courage will receive $190,000 in allocation money and San Diego’s natural 1st round draft selection in the 2023 NWSL Draft coming up on Dec. 18.

Dahlkemper now officially departs North Carolina as one of the most decorated defenders in NWSL. She has played in the league since 2015, winning three NWSL Championships and has been named to the Best XI three times, and earned NWSL Defender of the Year honors in 2017.

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San Diego is the newest side to enter the league and will be the 12th team in NWSL. Wave FC coach Casey Stoney now has the first piece of her team ahead of the long awaited expansion draft, and is looking forward to working with Dahlkemper.

“I’ve followed Abby’s career for a long time and always admired her qualities as a center back,” said Stoney. “She’s had a stellar career with the United States and in NWSL, and I coached against her last year when she was playing in England. She’s a top player who I feel has a lot to offer any team on the field and in the locker room. Those qualities will be of great value to our club as we build a team to be competitive in this league. I look forward to working with her on a daily basis.”

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